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Colossians 3:1-3

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Colossians 3:1-3, ‘If, then, you were raised in Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; set your minds on the things above, not on the things of earth, for you died and your life has been hidden with Christ in God…’

Ch.2 concludes with a reminder that the best self-driven efforts to stop the ‘indulgence of the flesh’ are powerless to make any lasting, root-level change. How then are we to see victory over the flesh-ward inclinations of our soul? The answer comes at the beginning of ch.3. It is not primarily a matter of greater effort, but of reoriented affections.

Humans are designed to love, to treasure, to be enamored by *something,* and then to direct the whole force and passion of their life toward that thing. Now, this ‘force and passion of life’ will express itself differently in different individuals, but one way or the other, all people are created to be supremely captivated by something and so to ‘live for’ that thing.

Because of this, Paul’s answer for how to decisively overthrow the ‘indulgence of the flesh,’ is the command to ‘seek the things above [and to] set your minds on the things above’, in other words, a call for our soul to be supremely enamored with the wonder, the excellence, the surpassing beauty of who God is in Jesus Christ. Only a transformation at the level of our soul’s root-desire is sufficient to ‘stop the indulgence of the flesh.’

But how does such a transformation take place? Only by dying and being raised again…only by the gracious crucifixion of our former self—with its natural root-desires—in the flesh of the Crucified Jesus, and our subsequent resurrection as a member of the Body of the Risen Lord. Through Spirit-wrought, Faith-bound union to the anastasiform Jesus Christ, His own thoughts and passions—which are wholly enamored with the excellence of the Father, whose image He Himself is—increasingly become our own and the indulgence of the flesh are, by and by, put to death.

Shears of human effort will not do. Only the cruciform spade of sovereign grace, driven into the soil of the soul by the pierced foot of the risen Lord, is sufficient to uproot the tree of our sinful flesh.